Melbourne, Australia , 24 January 2024 | Tennis Australia

Ten women from Pacific nations – Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu – are attending the Australian Open this week as part of the Pacific Women Leaders in Tennis program.

The leadership program is part of Tennis Australia’s Pacific Women and Girls in Tennis – Emerging on to the World Stage program. Funded by the Australian Government’s elite sports pathways program, PacificAus Sports, the program aims to support and empower Pacific women to take up leadership positions both on and off the court through professional development and networking opportunities.

The women were welcomed at the Asia-Pacific Dinner on Tuesday, and will participate in a graduation ceremony on Wednesday.

Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs, Tim Watts, attended the Asia-Pacific Dinner even and gave a keynote speech.

“I congratulate these 10 remarkable Pacific women on their upcoming graduation,” Assistant Minister Watts said.

“I am certain they will all make valuable contributions as leaders in their communities and in tennis organisations throughout the region.

“The Australian Government is committed to supporting more Pacific women to take up leadership positions at the highest level.”

Women coaches and talented junior girls from across the Pacific have further had the opportunity to compete in regional Victorian tennis tournaments. They’ve also attended player development camps focussed on building technical skills and tactics as well as their confidence and future aspirations.

This has provided an invaluable mentoring opportunity with some of Australia’s leading coaches and the opportunity to participate in professional development workshops such as Coach Connect and National Tutor Development course.

“Tennis Australia is proud of our ongoing relationship with the Pacific and our partnership with national federations to build the capacity of women leaders in tennis,” Director of Government, Social Impact and Stakeholder Relations Vicki Reid said.

“These women are amazing, they have heart and a commitment to growing tennis and seeing it thrive within the communities they play, coach and lead in. We are incredibly excited to welcome our participants to Australia to enjoy an amazing AO experience.

“It is so important for women to take on leadership roles in their communities, so women and girls have an equal voice and the ability to influence decision making. Having more women in leadership positions helps to create a welcoming, safe, and inclusive environment for all.”

The 10 graduates will also attend one of the most prestigious off-court events, the AO Inspirational Series on Thursday, headlined by Elle Macpherson. Australian tennis legend Evonne Goolagong Cawley will open the event, carrying in the magnificent Daphne Akhurst Memorial Trophy 50 years after winning her first Australian Open title.

Celebrating the achievement of women in all fields of endeavour, the AO Inspirational Series is also the prelude to a spectacular night of tennis for the Pacific women leaders, as they watch the world’s top women fight through the semifinals to win a coveted spot in the AO 2024 singles final.

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